Elegantly stylised adaptation of celebrated Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami’s strange story about a solitary illustrator who tastes fulfilment with a woman who can never have too many clothes.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
“It’s almost unknown for Haruki Murakami to allow film adaptations of his fiction; there were two brilliant shorts by Naoto Yamakawa in the early 1980s, and this equally brilliant feature by Jun Ichikawa is the first since then. Tony Takitani (played by the great stage actor Issey Ogata) is a commercial illustrator, specialising in mechanical drawings. An only child, half-estranged from his father, he isn’t conscious of his own loneliness until it’s unexpectedly filled by a wife, Eiko (Rie Miyazawa). Life hovers on the brink of fulfilment – except that Eiko buys an alarming number of clothes… ‘Stylised’ isn’t a strong enough word for Ichikawa’s approach to the story: each shot is like a waking dream, many scenes are sequenceshots, most colour is drained away, and the soundtrack collages together dialogue and voice-over. It’s certainly striking, but the key thing is that it coheres as a filmic equivalent of Murakami’s deadpan prose. One of the films of the year, and Ryuichi Sakamoto’s piano score is just perfect.” — Tony Rayns, London Film Festival